St. James Parish President Timmy Roussel and state Sen. Troy Brown, D-Napoleonville, don’t see eye-to-eye on the parish’s newest nominee to the Port of South Louisiana Commission.
Roussel has recommended the Parish Council ratify a retired plant worker from Vacherie, Stanley Bazile, to fill the parish’s seat on the seven-member commission overseeing shipping in St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Charles parishes.
The council plans to consider the appointment at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Parish Courthouse Annex in Vacherie.
The disagreement dates to early June when Brown and other state senators rejected the council’s earlier nominee to serve on the commission, Vacherie contractor Blaise Gravois.
At the center of that disagreement is Brown’s stated desire to balance St. James’ representation on the commission with people representing the east and west banks of the parish as well as both black and white residents.
Roussel and Brown confirmed they discussed such a balance, but Roussel recommended Gravois for the comission spot earlier this year — he is white — after another white commissioner from the parish’s east bank, Robert “Poncho” Roussel, was reappointed through the governor.
Brown said Timmy Roussel did not tell him in advance about Gravois’ nomination.
“President Roussel went against our prior commitment without us having a simple conversation, and I see his action as a blatant insult,” Brown said in a statement.
The council called on Brown to explain his opposition to Gravois on Thursday but Brown said Tuesday in a statement he would not be showing up.
Brown said he is owed the same respect that state Sen. Jody Amedee, R-Gonzales, received when the council did not question Amedee’s assistance in the reappointment of Poncho Roussel.
Timmy Roussel said Brown originally had someone else in mind — whom neither man would name — but the parish president said the council would not support that person.
Timmy Roussel said he suggested Gravois instead, who had support from the council and other elected officials and had been named to the commission briefly earlier this year.
“I think a lot of games are being played with people’s feelings,” Timmy Roussel said.
Bazile, the latest Timmy Roussel nominee, is black, but Brown said he may not make it to the commission, either.
Bazile is the uncle of Parish Councilman Charles Ketchens. Brown said he is researching whether Bazile has a conflict of interest because of the family connection.
Bazile and Gravois did not return messages for comment Tuesday.